Being stubborn (I prefer to call it strong-willed), can be an asset as well as a major detriment. On the positive side, many people have admired my courage and strength as I’ve encountered and survived a wide variety of surgeries and joint replacements compliments of my “friend” Arthur - you know, Osteo-arthritis.
Three weeks ago, I again entered the hospital, this time for Total Hip Replacement #2 (Thank God I only have two legs)!! Because the first hip replacement was straight out of the medical textbooks, I wrongly assumed that number two would be a similar situation. Although at this time I think that I am finally on the road to recovery, this has definitely NOT been the best time of my life. The surgery itself was relatively routine, although they did discover a hairline fracture in my femur that somehow hadn’t appeared on any pre-op testing. Post-op was a nightmare, as none of the pain management meds seemed to help. I also wondered why my left shoulder was wet much of the time, and I was informed that the wetness was due to the fevers I had (I’m talented, but usually sweat on BOTH sides of my body). Several days post-op, as they removed my lines to move me to the Skilled Nursing floor, it was discovered that the pain-med line was somehow not connected to me at least part of the time, so it was dripping onto my gown instead!! To add to my good fortune, one of my nurses accidentally bumped the lines in the back of my hand causing some tissue damage. Within a few short hours, I had a raging fever and a virulent infection. I was placed in isolation immediately and all visitors got to celebrate Halloween early by donning masks, gloves, and lovely blue plastic gowns!! Thank goodness I had a super doctor who started me on mondo antibiotics immediately, even before the culture results got back from the lab. My major fear was that this “poison” would travel its merry way into my new artificial joint!!!
So far, so good. There were some bonuses from this experience (although I really saw no humor in it at first). As a result of all of the trauma, my operated leg became somewhat the size of the Goodyear blimp (with, of course, the additional bonus of an equally swollen right hip). I’m sure this charming situation is what every woman I know aspires to.
Medically, the obvious solution was to place me on a strong diuretic (an extra challenge for one who is just relearning to walk)! After one week of this adventure, my right leg is reduced to almost the normal size and I had the dubious honor of having won “The Golden Bedpan Award” for the unit’s highest urine output for the week!! I guess that I’ll have to hang it in my office right up there with my Graduate Degrees! I’ve also lost 15 pounds since this most recent challenge began. My hips are now “matchy-matchy” (they’re both stainless steel). A friend and I figure they absolutely MUST weigh 35 lbs.each---at least that’s what I’ll tell the doctor’s nurse the next time they think they have to weigh me!
So, when the hospital asked me last Wednesday if I’d like to go home, I RAN – well, not quite literally. I (hopefully) no longer have another hip replacement looming in my future, and while mountain climbing and driving sled dogs will probably not be on my agenda for a few months, I will have the thrill of cuddling two soft warm new grandbabies in the meantime.
I have already hired a trainer to work with me as soon as my orthopedic surgeon agrees to it, and am diligently doing the exercises as prescribed by my physical therapist (well, MOST of the time). I simply refuse to let OA determine my life. There are too many mountains for me to climb, too many sunrises to experience, too many soft breezes to feel. There’s still a world out there waiting for me with new things to see, hear, taste, touch and experience. OA is a major challenge in my life, but I CHOOSE not to let it take me down. So, for today, I’ll pick up my cane and my dreams to prepare for the future!
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Published On: November 01, 2006